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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Didn't realize that you were the resident expert.

    "He probably shouldn't be doing this until nine or ten."

    Ok then, who should pitch in our league if they have to wait until then?

    "Seven year olds don't need challenges on the baseball field more than they should be playing with their friends in their grade."

    He does have friends in his league, he is a popular kid who has many friends at our complex. Maybe I shouldn't call him popular, because it seems to hurt your feelings when other kids do well, but keep reminding us that you have a kid playing college ball. Congrats.

    "Looks like parental chest puffing to me."

    Whatever "Coach". See college comment.

    "Except a lot of fun playing with his classmates. What is it he's supposed to be getting out of seven year old baseball other than fun?"

    He had a blast, and most of his friends were on his team. His team won the championship despite being an average of about a year younger than any other team. Oops, that must be chest puffing.

    "There's that puffy chest again."

    You seem to have a problem with me, and I'm ok with that because you have a kid playing college ball as you've mentioned many times on this board.

    "I'll bet by the time your son is ten there will be such a demand for him to pitch he'll be throwing six innings a week. You'll have him in travel since by then rec ball just won't be enough of a challenge for your son."

    I see that your kids played travel at 9, seems contradictory to me. Nope, no travel ball until after LL (age 13).
    Last edited by Syx; 12-09-2008, 02:46 PM.


    • Originally posted by TG Coach View Post
      It's always the dads where the oldest is a preteen stud and hasn't been through the process who don't get it. : I'm not going to get into a war on how to do it even I've been through it, been through it with two of my own kids and teams full of players now playing high school and college ball. I lack knowledge and experience.
      Nope, I have an older son who happens to be an All-Star catcher, Very good player, but not great, I've coached for about 20 years, so I do have an idea what is going on.

      I'm not sure how I offended you, but maybe you should just ignore my posts.


      • Day Camp

        My boy's school baseball coach told them that this Saturday a group is coming down from a major college (I mean a really major college) to do a free one day baseball camp for our team.

        I can't tell you how excited we are. To have the chance to have coaches from a major college teaching my boy the fundamentals of the game is just mind boggling to me.

        I must confess I have my hopes up very high this weekend. I just hope my boy has a great attitude and soaks everything in that these guys are going to try and teach him.



        • I see that your kids played travel at 9, seems contradictory to me. Nope, no travel ball until after LL (age 13).

          LL was the focus in the preteen years. The travel he played in the preteen years was community based travel where one town competes against another. It's more like advanced rec ball/all-stars. It was extended play past the rec season ending mid June. At eleven and twelve his LL all-star teams played into August. At thirteen he started playing USSSA Majors. It's real travel ball.

          You don't have to pay any attention to me. You can mock me. It's just advice. But as you see each kid along side your son's journey have his arm flame out before he hits high school (and you will see it), remember me. Hopefully it won't be your kid.
          Last edited by TG Coach; 12-09-2008, 10:08 PM.


          • Syx - Here's a link to what recognized experts advise pediatricians to explain to their patients and families on the matter....


            Anything can happen, but my interpretation is that practicing a little common sense and sensitivity will go a long way to avoiding the risk of any injury related to pitching no matter the age of the kid.

            At age 7, my son was pitching every day. I constructed a pitcher's mound in the backyard. We'd leave our gloves and a couple baseballs on the patio and several times an evening he'd throw a simulated inning or two. This was in addition to any time spent practicing pitching at the school which we sometimes visited multiple times a day and sometimes the HS practice field. And, he'd play some occassional pick-up ball with his buddies + a regular season + all-stars + fall league + camps and clinics.

            He didn't suffer from soreness or fatigue or even a decline in enthusiasm. If he had, I'd have found this site and others to research the possibility of injury much sooner. It honestly never entered my mind...he's a kid...that's what life was like when I was a kid and injury equaled nothing but the occassional trip to the ER for stitches.

            About a year ago he switched to sidearm and a friend told me it would damage his growth plates. Growth plates? What are they? Started researching injury due to sidearm pitching and found some discussion on youth pitching, pitch counts, breaking balls, etc. ---- My heart began to sink. We had violated it all huge. He couldn't have thrown more pitches over the prior three years unless he was pitching with both arms at once. He practiced baseball the day he got his tonsils out, and the whole time he had a cast on his broken arm, with two broken fingers and a severe hamstring bruise at the same time, and in weather hardly suited for football. And when he wasn't playing baseball, he was throwing a football or playing basketball.

            I think researching and asking questions about your 7 year old is a great thing because I'm sure that I'm not the only parent out there oblivious to the risk of injury. Once again, anything can happen, but the more you know, the more you can balance safety, having fun, and improving skills.

            btw, the emphasis on pitching hasn't really changed much for my son now. The pitch counts, rest days, time off have of course, but he still studies and talks a lot of pitching. He's seen an orthopedist twice over the past year. The first visit was a reaction to what I found about injury risk, and his pediatrician put us in touch with an orthopedist specializing in youth sports medicine. His opinion was that he was absolutely fine and that tell tale signs of injury would be present now if they were going to arrise later as the article suggests. I took my son in for another visit for a sports physical in lieu of a regularly scheduled check up with his pediatrician. No x-rays, except on his hand which he coincidentally fractured two fingers on a couple days before. Just a lot of discussion, some anectdotal points of view on what can happen, but also some reassurance that he feels that my son has dodged a bullet so to speak. He never suggested to stop pitching, just to follow some guidelines. He recently treated a kid who never played sports at all. He was 18 and in a firefighter program. The kid suffered an injury requiring surgery as a result of picking up a bucket of water. So, you can take precautions, but bad luck, genetics, inadequate conditioning, are all a potential problem that could bite someone as well.
            Last edited by shake-n-bake; 12-10-2008, 02:44 PM.
            There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.


            • Sparks, thanks for the update on your boy. Glad to hear that baseball is still working for him. (And sorry that those other two guys have hijacked your thread with the tiresome "your hotshot kid will flame out at age 14" debate.)

              It does seem odd to have tryouts in early December and make the cuts after only two hours of play. You've probably got kids who haven't picked up a ball since June and are still rusty. And it sounds like the coach wasn't making sure that everyone was warmed up well enough -- particularly in 35 degree weather. (Hitting pitches in on the fists must have been fun .... NOT.)

              But, your story does get to a point that I try to teach kids -- many coaches can tell (or, as importantly, think they can tell) within a few minutes which kids have their baseball "chops" and which ones are just trying to get out of their PE requirement. You can't just show up and plant yourself in front of a ground ball and figure that a coach will be impressed if you knock it down and throw flat-footed to first base -- you've got to look like you know what you're doing.

              BTW: 13 year olds are weird. For some reason my boy thinks I'm the stupidest person who ever lived and he knows everything. Go figure......
              Ahh, there's a great line -- "When I was 14, I thought my father was the stupidest person in the world; by the time I turned 21, I'd become amazed how much a guy could learn in 7 years."

              Best of luck, and have a great holiday,
              sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.


              • Ursa,

                The past few days I've been thinking about the tryouts we had.
                Here is what my "theory" is on the matter.
                All of these kids are kids that grew up around here and my bet is these coaches knew before tryouts who they were going to pick. My guess is they've followed these kids for years and they pretty much know what each kid can and can't do. As a stroke of luck the head high school baseball coach (he also oversees the 7 and 8th grade baseball) well his son was on my boy's fall ball baseball team. So everyday and every game he was able to evaluate my boy. ON that particular team my boy was by far the best player on the team. He was the #1 pitcher and SS and Catcher. One game my boy played 5 positions in one game. So he was able to watch my boy and he knows that he can play several positions and all that stuff.

                Anyway, that is what I think. I think these coaches had a pretty good idea going into tryouts what each kid could do and yes it was bitter cold. I can't imagine why they have baseball this time of year. First practice is this Saturday (a one day camp). Preseason starts in about three weeks so it looks like they play baseball in the cold around here.

                I will say this...there were a couple of kids (one in particular) that were at tryouts. My boy grew up playing ball with and against them. They were very very good and one kid was one of the best players I had seen as a 11 and 12 year old. He probably threw harder than most any kid in the state at that age. He is tall lanky and runs like the wind. Well, this kid was cut and didn't make the team this year. I couldn't believe the throws he made...its like his arm was gone or something. He couldn't make a simple throw from deep right feild to second base. I bet he fell 25ft short on his best throw. My boy easily made the throw and he told me he didn't even try to throw hard. It was pretty much a lob throw for him. I was shocked that this kid couldn't throw...just shocked. I had just got through telling one of the parents how great this kid was and that it was going to be great for my boy to be able to play with him. All the sudden he starts to throw and I coudn't believe what I saw. Also, his hitting was just aweful....I mean worse than aweful....I'm talking batting practice speed of about 20mph from a coach with pitches right down the middle. The kid just flat out couldn't hit. Anyway, this young man is an incredible football player so maybe he just got out of baseball shape or something.

                I've always looked out for my boys arm. There are a lot of opinions out there from honest people and everyone thinks they are right. My boy had a pitching coach for the past two years and he was a great AA college player. He told my boy to throw everyday. I think it comes down to this....I think every child is different. When my boy throws everyday (or 4 days a week) his arm feels better and he throws much better. If has a game and goes two or three days without throwing (before the game) he seems to not pitch as well in the game. If he throws his regular throwing each day he always seemed to have a better game. So I don't know who is right or wrong. For my boy the more he throws the stronger his arm gets and he feels better. Now I'm not talking about throwing 80 pitches in a game....NO NOT AT ALL. He sticks to the rules and pitches his 6 innings a week (or what ever the rule is for the league he is playing in). But days he wasn't pitching he would usually go outside and at least do a few throws of 20+ pitches.

                Anyway, we are excited about school ball.



                • Sparks, you are correct. As a school coach (both HS and Jr. HS) I pretty much knew who was going to make the team. I did however have a few suprises both ways. There were kids I thought who were not very good turning out to be great players and I had players who, once taken away from dad's direct shadow wavered and slide off the grid.

                  You of course always have those players that you have never seen, but the top and bottom are easy to identified. The job becomes difficult with those very few in the middle trying for the last few spots.
                  "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                  - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.


                  • Originally posted by shake-n-bake View Post
                    Anything can happen, but my interpretation is that practicing a little common sense and sensitivity will go a long way to avoiding the risk of any injury related to pitching no matter the age of the kid.

                    Thanks Shake, pretty good article, and it basically comes down to common sense just like you said.


                    • this will be my sons first year playing with his age group i believe. Last couple he played up and it was great b/c he hardly ever pitched. he always wanted to but i didnt let him much(about 10 innings total last year i would guess)

                      Not sure i will be coaching him now so hopefully he still wont be asked to pitch too much. Kindve a fine line b/c i dont want to say something to his coach but if he ends up pitching multiple innings every week i would have to say something

                      We might do spring league and If i am in charge every kid will split the load. 1 inning each.

                      To the guy with the 7 year old my advice would be for the coaches to develop more pitchers


                      • Notre Dame

                        We had the camp this past Saturday which was done by two coaches from Notre Dame. I thought they did a wonderful job and I felt they did far more than I thought they would have been able to do in one day.

                        I learned a lot about the process of getting into college ball. I had no idea that baseball players "didn't" get full scholarships. One of the key things the coach told the kids was that they had to have a 3.6 gpa just to be considered for N.D. It didn't matter how good of a player you were you had to have that GPA or they couldn't' take you.

                        I wish I could hammer that into my boy's head. He's at that age that he doesn't think grades are important. He thinks that all he has to do is pass. I'm not sure how I'm going to get through to him that he must work as hard or harder on his grades than he does in sports. I tell you, this thing of raising kids isn't easy.

                        Every baseball player in our school from 7th grade to senior's in high school was at the camp. I looked close at all the other kids... my boy was the smallest kid in the entire camp. He has a friend of his that he competes with in sports that is probably 5inches taller than my boy now. I mean this kid shot up like crazy. Most of his friends seems to have grown several inches. My boy is still 5' and 105 pounds soaking wet and this is at 13.

                        I don't mind him being small but it was clear that his size hindered him in football. The coach simply would not even give him a look. He had zero chance in football to do well. I went to every practice and he was always one of the top five kids when running and he was the first on the field and the last off every practice. Among the other 7th graders he has (in my opinion) the best arm. If not he certainly has the top 2 arms on the team. The coach would not even give him a chance at quarter back.

                        My point is, it looks like he's going to have a battle in baseball from here on out. He's always been the best player on every team he's played on but now all the kids are good and they are bigger and stronger. I just hope that he is up to the challenge and doesn't get disappointed too soon. I'm sure he will hit a growth spurt at some point but I hope he doesn't get disappointed in baseball early...and that he'll give it a chance.

                        I know he's already expecting to be the starting Short Stop and the number one pitcher. He has this set in his mind. I'm glad he's confident but he's going to have a battle to make those goals. One of his good friends has the inside on the starting catching position but my boy has his eye that as well.

                        We'll see how it goes. He just loves baseball so much and I hope he doesn't get discouraged and can still have fun and be successful.



                        • My son has been to two baseball camps in the last month and the message was the same. The last few minutes of each camp they talked about the importance of working hard in class. Bottom line is college coaches want "low maintenance" kids who go to class, keep their grades up, and they believe that also translates into a much higher probability they'll stay out of trouble by making good decisions off the field.

                          Even though my son does well in school, I appreciated very much someone other than me or his mom sending the message. Sparks, you're right sometimes it isn't easy. I hate to add to the dilemma, but one of the coaches brought up another very important point - make sure your son is choosing his friends wisely. If it's a case where your son's attitude toward grades and school is a reflection on the kids he's hanging out with, time to get tough.

                          The other thing you can do is pull the plug on sports until his grades / effort meet your expectations. One of my son's friends is missing basketball season because his mom and dad aren't happy with his grades. The kid loves sports and it's definetly motivating him to get his act together in school.
                          Last edited by shake-n-bake; 12-16-2008, 04:11 AM.
                          There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.


                          • Sparks, great point about the grades. Outside of football and basketball, sports aren't a big enough reason for schools to cut corners in their admissions processes.

                            With that said, it may be tough for your youngster to try to keep up with both football and baseball if top grades don't come easily to him. And, even then, he'll be missing out on other extracurricular activities. Ursa Minor is a very good actor (actually, much better than he is a ballplayer), and so he doesn't do any fall sports to make sure he's available for whatever play his school is running in the fall. By playing two sports competitively, your boy is cut off from those types opportunities.

                            Coming from a family of late bloomers, I know it's tough to realize that you coulda ended up a good player at some sport when you finally caught up to the big guys if only you'd been given the chance to play high level competition when you were younger (and smaller than everyone). That's the way of much of the athletic world.
                            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.


                            • im pretty sure its above average.. but not by much


                              • u didnt offend him... he was defending ur kids arm that you will probably let him **** up


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